Coloured pencils and oil pastels lend themselves to out-of-focus subject matter. Together you can use them for bold or very subtle mark-making. Indeed, you can make entirely blurry (or soft focus) drawings. To see a step-by-step look at how I drew “Daydream” (above) please read this post.
A soft-focus drawing becomes an abstract composition. One can concentrate on composition; balance, colours and shapes without being bogged down by detail. There is a lot of room for interpretation in this sort of drawing as the less detail there is in a source photo, the more opportunity there is to use one’s imagination. There are no hard and fast lines to follow and no absolute borders. You could say it is a kind of impressionism, made with coloured pencils mixed with oil pastels.
Below are some recent soft-focus or “mixed media impressionism” drawings. Because these drawings have elements of abstraction and realism, I call the style Abstract Realism.
Soft-focus drawings from 2017…
In some drawings most of the area is treated in an impressionist way with just the closest subject in sharp focus. I like the contrast of these two states.
Drawings from 2018…
Oil pastels and coloured pencils make up my mixed media…but this kind of very soft-focus may also be created with coloured pencils by themselves, as in “Overcast”.
See “My Art Materials” page for more information.
Have a look at my complete collection of paintings and drawings (over 550 of them created over more than 40 years) on my comprehensive website https://juliepodstolski.com/
A note on how I get my out-of-focus source photo –
I can’t make an impressionistic drawing by working from a sharp photographic image. So how do I make a soft focus photo? When I take photos my digital SLR camera is set on aperture-priority auto. I set the aperture t f/3.5 (‘f’ meaning focal ratio, f-ratio or f-stop) in order to give me a short focal range. For example, at f/3.5 if I focus on an individual bird in a landscape he will be sharp but everything in front and behind him will be fuzzy. But if my aperture is set at a long focal range of f/16 the bird and the rest of the scene will be sharp. I seldom work with a long focal range because I don’t usually want everything sharp.